Coach of the Year Nick Saban leads Alabama landslide in SEC individual awards
COLUMBIA — South Carolina’s turnaround was no match for Alabama’s dominance.
Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban was named the SEC Coach of the Year on Wednesday, leading an Alabama landslide in the league’s individual awards. How Gamecocks head coach Will Muschamp stacked up in the voting was not known, because totals were not released.
Saban led the top-ranked Crimson Tide to an unbeaten regular season that included the SEC championship and the top seed in the College Football playoff, where they will open against No. 4 seed Washington in a semifinal in the Peach Bowl. Muschamp inherited a 3-9 USC program that he led to a 6-6 record and a berth in the Birmingham Bowl.
Saban, Muschamp, and Auburn’s Gus Malzahn were viewed as the leading contenders for the coaching award. South Carolina secured bowl eligibility this season despite having no players honored on the All-SEC teams selected by the coaches, which were released Tuesday.
Alabama freshman quarterback Jalen Hurts was named both SEC Freshman of the Year and Offensive Player of the Year, while defensive end Jonathan Allen was named Defensive Player of the Year and left tackle Cam Robinson earned the Jacobs Blocking Trophy. The Crimson Tide claimed the league’s top offensive and defensive awards for the second straight year.
The non-Alabama award winners were Auburn kicker Daniel Carlson, named Special Teams Player of the Year, and Arkansas linebacker Brooks Ellis, named Scholar-Athlete of the Year. Awards were voted on by the league’s head coaches, who were not allowed to select their own players.
The SEC postseason awards conclude Thursday with the announcement of the All-Freshman team. Running back Rico Dowdle is among South Carolina’s top contenders for a place on that squad.